FLOWER MOUND — For months, the town of Flower Mound has battled over whether to suspend permits for big natural gas facilities and their pipelines.
On Monday morning, the town began to see signs of change.
"It's a wonderful day," said Mayor-elect Melissa Northern. "The residents have clearly spoken as to what they want for our community."
Northern — along with incumbent Town Council member Al Filidoro, and incoming Council member Steve Lyda — comprised a pro-moratorium slate of candidates in Flower Mound's municipal election. The group, known as "NFL" (an acronym for the first initials of their last names), won their races in an election that saw nearly triple the average voter turnout.
The winning candidates, however, won't be sworn in to office until next week. That meant there was still a possibility a company could submit an application for centralized natural gas production facilities and their pipelines before the new Town Council could stop them.
At 8:30 Monday morning, Williams Production did call to try to submit one of the controversial applications.
Filidoro criticized the move, saying, the company was to get an application in with the old majority and the old mayor. "I think that showed what kind of neighbor we have in Williams," Filidoro said.
It was, however, too late.
The Town Manager wasn't waiting for his new bosses to officially weigh in. He issued a one-month moratorium on the centralized natural gas production facilities and their pipelines an hour before Williams' request, at 7:30 a.m.
Kelly Swann, a spokesman for Williams issued a statement explaining the application was for a compressor station.
"We’re disappointed by Flower Mound’s decision to enact a moratorium on certain permits that are needed to support natural gas production," Swann said in the statement. "We’re assessing the situation and our options carefully, given that our good faith attempts to follow the town’s processes haven’t produced reasonable outcomes."
The victorious candidates, along with incumbent Council member Tom Hayden, have said they support a longer moratorium. Incoming Council member Steve Lyda said it will give town officials "enough time to review the oil and gas ordinance comprehensively, and address some of the concerns that the residents have that have been kind of ignored over the last few months."
The Town of Flower Mound does not yet have any centralized natural gas production facilities. The town's voters are set to vote on the issue this November. The vote was called before this weekend's power shift.